Anil's Ghost

Setting and historical context

Although often considered a Canadian writer, Ondaatje travels back to his homeland in Sri Lanka for the setting of Anil’s Ghost. Set during the turbulent period in Sri Lanka from the mid-1980s to early 1990s, the characters in Anil’s Ghost face the everyday struggles of living in a warring nation. During this time period, Sri Lanka is divided among three main warring sides with two ethnic groups and the government in a civil war. During this time, illegal and legal government squads were sent out to capture the separatist and insurgents. Numerous deaths occurred during the civil war, and the characters in Anil’s Ghost fight to bring justice and recognition to the endless victims.

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